Think about all the things people post on Facebook or any other social networking website. That can be a good thing and sometimes that can be a bad thing. What happens in Vegas stays on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and Foursquare.
Fast Company‘s Co.Design blog recently featured an infographic using Facebook data to show when people break up. David McCandless plotted Facebook relationship data and found that most break ups happen two times a year: right around spring break and a few weeks before the winter holidays. It’s a whimsical anecdote until you take a few steps back.
If you watch Mark Zuckerberg’s latest 60 Minutes interview about the new profile changes on Facebook, then a bigger picture emerges around where the website is going. There will be an inevitable collision between search and social recommendation. Stay tuned on that aspect of things.
Yesterday’s launch of the new Facebook profile design also shows the company’s focus on presenting a more complete online picture of you. That means Facebook needs more profile information about you and based on what I’ve seen so far — people are updating their interests, employment history, and other details at a rapid pace. The feed is being fed like a holiday goose.
Facebook’s value is mostly derived from what it knows about its users. Thankfully those users voluntarily cough up a tremendous amount of information about themselves. And you don’t need the details from a trip Mardi Gras or excerpts from diplomatic correspondence to gain insight from the information.
The relationship break up trends show what you can learn from one piece of data and 500 million people. Just imagine what your messages, chats, photos, likes, jobs, interests, apps, games, and devices tell Facebook. The illusion of privacy is just that — an illusion.
This isn’t meant to sound like a Big Brother warning. There’s no law that says people must overshare. People ultimately have a choice on what they type. But it should get you thinking. Expect social privacy to become a much bigger issue in the future.
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